THIS is the terrifying moment a pod of bloodthirsty killer whales rammed into a British yacht and ripped off a chunk of the rudder.
The crew were sailing 20 miles off the coast of Spain in the Atlantic Ocean when they suddenly found their 50ft yacht surrounded by the killer creatures.
The crew were sailing in the Atlantic Ocean when they found their yacht surrounded by the orcasCredit: BBC
The pod of killer whales were attacking the rudder of the boat, making the wheel spin uncontrollablyCredit: BBC
The pod of orcas appeared bent on destruction, attacking the boat with a huge amount of force.
Speaking on an episode of Close Calls: On Camera, crew member Martin said: “It was intense.
“We realised that if this animal chooses to do something, it will do it and there’s nothing you’ll be able to do to stop it.”
The former stand-up comedian was on a three-week voyage via the Mediterranean with another member of crew and a skipper.
On a clear afternoon, Martin was about to take a quick break for a cup of tea when he noticed the wheel started whizzing around on its own.
“The autopilot had been playing up on the trip, so we’d had a couple of situations where the boat would just go off course,” he said.
“But this was not an autopilot failure and I knew immediately we were in trouble.”
He added: “I could just see these whales on either side of the boat, right next to the boat and I just shouted down, ‘orcas!’
“Their power was tremendous.”
The crew realised the pod of aggressive killer whales were attacking the rudder of the boat, making the wheel spin uncontrollably.
Martin said it meant it was “impossible” to control the helm of the vessel.
“It was going to break my wrists, so it was hands off and just sit back” he said.
Asleep in his cabin, crew member Nathan said he was woken up by the skipper’s shouts.
He said: “I thought we were sinking. Every pounding noise of a whale body hitting the boat, you think, crikey, is this going to break the boat?”
“You’re within a shell of fibreglass and you can only hit it so hard, and it was just thuds, thuds, thuds.”
Martin soon noticed one of the whales had a chunk of the rudder in its mouth – leaving them with no way of steering.
He said: “It had, the only way to describe it, a chunk of rudder in its mouth.
“That’s not good, that really can’t be good, there is rudder in its mouth.”
Sinking became a real possibility for the terrified crew as the whales continued to smash themselves into the hull of the yacht.
Martin called up the Spanish coastguard for help and they switched off all the electrics and dropped the sales, deciding to sit tight.
“I was concerned that we were far enough away from land that if something had happened, we were in pretty serious trouble,” he said.
The terrifying saga lasted more than two hours before the orcas vanished as quickly as they appeared.
The crew knew they had been left with a damaged boat, but they managed to limp into the port at Gibraltar.
Martin and Nathan said they consider themselves extremely lucky to have seen the orcas and to escape the close encounter unharmed.
Martin said: “It was as close a call as I’ve had in my life and I really consider myself quite fortunate.”
There has been increased reports of killer whales attacking boats off the coasts of Spain and Portugal.
More than 230 orca interactions have been reported in the last two years, ranging from the massive animals approaching boats to attacking them.
The creatures are regularly spotted in the area as they migrate to feed on tuna living around the Straits of Gibraltar.
It comes after five people were rescued after a pod of crazed killer whales sank a tourist boat off the coast of Portugal.
The 25ft orcas smashed a hole in the hull six miles from the port of Sines earlier this month.
The crew of holidaymakers were forced to abandon their vessel as it took on water amid violent ramming.
They bailed out into a life raft and were picked up by a fishing vessel alerted by the Navy.
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